"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Act 20:35).
Finding Rest and Profit in God
But when we look at our labor through our jobs, rising early and 9-5, it can be difficult to support any other people when we can hardly support ourselves. But we should be encouraged by the words of Jesus in Mat 11:28: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
We must understand that rest is in God, not in how much we labor to get a deserved vacation. He promised to give us rest, just as he said is he is the one that teach us to make profit. Isaiah 48:17 says, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
If God is our rest and profit, our focus should be on Him not in our work. Only when we do this can we support the weak, knowing that He is our supply and provider.
Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath
In the story of prophet Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, there was famine in the land and no one had anything to eat. The woman only had the last meal for herself and her son to eat and die. But Elijah, the man of God showed up hungry with no food or place to live. But God told him to go to the woman. “So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
Doesn't that sound callous and insensitive in such a dire situation, especially the widow’s condition. But the woman obeyed. However, in yet another “insensitive” stunt by the prophet, “And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand” (1Kings 17:11).
The woman thought, this was getting too much and she replied, humbly though: “, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” That was the truth. The situation was that bad. She expected the prophet to be prophetic enough and understand.
But how did the prophet respond?
“And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son” (1Ki 17:13).
Doesn’t the dynamics of blessing and fulfilment in life defies the law of life itself! The way to the top is down. If you want a great harvest, you need to bury your seed. If you want a great dividend, you need to pay premium. Many times, it is not convenient. Many people bought certain shares when it was not convenient but over the years, it has become so big they forgot the pain and sacrifice of the initial purchase. So, it is with God and anything of God.
Giving What You Have to Get What You Need
God does not want you to consume everything you have on yourself. The doctrine of “me first” does not profit but then “others first” sound ridiculous as we are to love others like we love ourselves. But in the overall, God comes first. And since we can’t see God, whoever or whatever he chooses to represent him comes first. In God’s standard, the weak, the poor, the widows, the fatherless are priority. James calls it “pure religion and undefiled before God.” Jas 1:27. Book of Provers 21:13 says, “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”
The widow of Zarephath did exactly what the prophet Elijah requested from her in such critical circumstance; she gave up on her dream to just eat and die. She didn’t have to eat her last meal with her son and die, she gave and live. Her obedience paid off. She was so blessed that all the barrels and jars in her house was filled with so much food and water according to the prophesy of the prophet. “Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (2Chro 20:20).
Abraham was another example. He was called to give up his only son, whom he loved. In obedience, he gave up one son to get a nation of Israel (Gen 22). God also gave up His Son, Jesus to get a cloud of witnesses. They all could hold on to what they had, but they would never get what they needed.
To Live is to Give
To secure a bountiful harvest, you need a sacrificial planting. To have a sumptuous dividend, you need a great premium.
Living requires sacrificial giving. If you want to have treasures in heaven, you need to give here on earth. You need to give to others and not eat all you have. If you eat alone, you die alone. God wants us to remember the weak, the poor and the vulnerable. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom 15:1).
Remember the words of wisdom in Proverbs 19:17: “He that hath pity upon the poor lends unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
Even though we labor in our work, our survival is from God not from our works, and God wants us to remember that and from what he has given us, to support the weak and the poor. As difficult and crazy as it sounds, he wants us to trust him that he is our supply. Will you do that?
Would you give and live or rather eat and die?